Even as President Trump and his reckless collaborators are planning to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, without a viable fallback, Trump is handing Iran — and Russia — a huge win. The Post reports:

President Trump has instructed military leaders to prepare to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria but has not set a date for them to do so, according to a senior administration official.
In a meeting with top national security officials Tuesday, Trump stressed that U.S. troops can be involved in current training tasks for local forces to ensure security in areas liberated from the Islamic State, the official said.
But the president said that the U.S. mission would not extend beyond the destruction of the Islamic State, and that he expects other countries, particularly wealthy Arab states in the region, to pick up the task of paying for ongoing stabilization and reconstruction, including sending their own troops, if necessary.

It is not clear which if any advisers have recommended this course of action. But if it is a sign of things to come with Mike Pompeo at State and John Bolton heading the National Security Council, it’s a horrible omen for continued conflict, American decline and Iranian aggression.

Former U.S. ambassador to Turkey Eric S. Edelman tells me that this is “more evidence of the essential continuity of Obama and Trump’s policies in the Middle East.  The rhetoric is a little different, particularly on JCPOA, which Trump may walk away from, but even at the rhetorical level Trump sounds an awful like Obama saying we need to do nation-building at home.”

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He argues, “Absent an overarching strategy for dealing with the multifaceted challenge that Iran represents, we may end up being in even worse shape after Trump’s actions.” Ironically the damage done by his Syria policy may eclipse Obama’s red-line fiasco. “Syria represents the best place to start imposing costs on Iran for its aggressive behavior in the region because its proxies are quite exposed there,” Edelman explains. “Moreover, a premature pull out will likely lead to a revival of the ISIS threat much as Obama’s premature evacuation of Iraq led to a void that was filled by ISIS.”

The short-term effects may include further escalation of tensions between Iran and Israel, which broke out into military conflict last month. “The signal is that he is ceding Syria to [Iran],” observes veteran Middle East diplomat Dennis Ross. “Iran can consolidate its land bridge through Syria to the Mediterranean; it can develop military infrastructure for itself and the Shia militias, and that will be used to  threaten Jordan as well as Israel.” He stresses, “With regard to Israel, Iran is trying to create an asymmetric reality where it can threaten Israel from Syria and Lebanon, while Israel is far less capable of threatening Iran.  It makes war more likely at some point between Israel and Iran/Hezbollah because the U.S. is on the sidelines and not playing a deterrent role with either the Iranians or the Russians.” He recommends that “at a minimum, it would help if we would privately convey to Putin that we will back Israel’s freedom of action if a war erupts and such a war risks escalation and drawing us in.  If nothing else, that might get Putin to do more to contain the Iranians in Syria.”

The move should unnerve our Sunni allies who perceive that the United States is receding from the region, leaving them in the clutches of Russia and Iran. Moreover, the humanitarian disaster, the genocide, that Obama allowed to unfold on his watch (to the outrage of many Republicans) is now part of Trump’s legacy as well. On every level, his decision casts America as the loser — losing its influence in the region, losing its influence as a reliable ally, losing any claim to moral authority and losing the will to enforce international law on use of WMDs.

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